Traditionally on 11 June the Navy of Brazil celebrates the victory at the naval battle of Riachuelo, which took place in 1865, against the troops of Solano Lopez. In this year’s ceremony at the Eighth Naval District in São Paulo, I had the honor to receive the Medal Order of Naval Merit. The distinction made me think how we Brazilians must be proud of living in a country where the most important naval battle of the continent occurred 148 years ago.
Today the Navy continues to fight tough battles, but they are not against an armed enemy. It is a never-ending struggle for security in our territorial waters, our islands, for the peoples dwelling in the farthest regions who depend on vessels for their supply and for the health of the population.
In recent years has become more dramatic the battle against a powerful enemy: devastation. Fighting against a negative environmental situation that goes back centuries is not a task for the government alone, but for each and every one of us. For inspiration the only thing we need is the beauties that surround us every time we sail along the Brazilian coast.
May we be lucky enough to bequeath to our children and grandchildren these Nature’s beauties. And better than lucky, may we be courageous enough to live up to our responsibility and protect Nature.
Berardino Antonio Fanganiello